It looks like my Memorial day menu ideas were popular, so here are a couple more suggestions for the 4th of July.
I will start with the recipe that is as simple as it gets and produces one of those appetizers that you just want to stuff yourself with and forget about the main course. It is that good, I promise!
Fava Bean and Mint Crostini
(fava beans are also known as broad beans in the UK and other former and current realms)
Serves 4-8, depending on how many you’re willing to share
- 1 baguette, sliced and brushed with olive oil
- 1 pound shelled and skinned fava beans (this is about 1 lb 5 oz shelled favas, so probably nearly 2 pounds whole favas)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 ounces grated pecorino Romano, plus more for shaving on top the crostini
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/4 cup mint leaves
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- freshly ground pepper
- To prepare the fresh favas: shell the beans. Heat a medium pot of water to boiling; blanch shelled favas in the boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to an ice bath (bowl of water + ice) to cool rapidly. When cool, use your fingernail or a paring knife to slice open the skin and slip the inner beans out. After doing this, you should have roughly a pound left.
- Preheat oven to 450. Place the baguette slices, brushed with olive oil, on a baking sheet, and set aside.
- In a food processor, put the shelled, blanched, cooled and skinned fava beans, the 1/3 c of EVOO, pecorino, salt, mint leaves, lemon juice and several rounds of freshly ground pepper. Puree until chunky but smooth.
- Put the baking sheet of baguette slices into the oven and cook until golden brown. Remove and dab 1-2 T of fava bean puree on each slice. Sprinkle with salt if you want, drizzle with a little EVOO and shave a bit of pecorino Romano on top. Serve!
You can either follow this recipe as is, or try grilling your bread and rubbing it with garlic while it is still hot before spreading the fave bean puree on it. Using fava beans when they are in season is so very Roman 🙂
Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula, Pistachios and Shaved Pecorino
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Place all the large beets on a sheet tray and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a fork slides in and out of the beets easily. Add the baby beets to the tray for the last 20 minutes of cooking time. When the beets have cooled, peel them. Slice the large beets into 1/2-inch thick slices. Cut the baby beets in half.Place the arugula in a bowl and drizzle in about half of the vinegar and olive oil and season generously with salt. Toss the salad gently to incorporate all of the ingredients. TASTE IT! It should taste very flavorful but not soggy. Arrange the arugula on 4 individual salad plates. Toss all of the beets together in the salad bowl and add the remaining oil, vinegar and salt, and toss. Arrange the dressed beets on the arugula and top with the pistachios and shaved pecorino.
Who knew beets could be so tasty?
Parsley-Stuffed Shrimp (serves 4 as a main dish)
Parsley, onion and bread crumbs stuff big shrimp in this dish from the Romagna coast. They are usually sauteed in oilive oil, but many grill the shrimp over charcoal. (Courtesy of Lynne Rossetto Kasper).
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup dried fine bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons minced parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound raw jumbo shrimp (8 to 12 per pound)
- 2 large lemons, cut into wedges
- Extra-virgin oilive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Note: for best flavour, make the filling and stuff the shrimp 4 to 8 hours before cooking. Keep them covered and refrigerated. Serve the shrimp immediately after cooking.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and garlic and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Cook, stirring, until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the crumbs into a small bowl. Stir in the parsley and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
- Shell the shrimp, leaving the tail section intact. Cut a long pocket into their undersides by making a deep slit down the length from the tail, stopping just short of slicing through the other end. Take care not to cut through to the top side of the shrimp. Press a generous teaspoon of the stuffing into each pocket. Pile the shrimp on a plate, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
- Preheat the grill and place in one layer and cook until the shrimp is ready
Serve immediately with lemon edges on the side.
If you want something more substantial, try these delicious kabobs from Andalusia.
Pinchos Morunos (serves 8)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3 Tbs. ground cumin
- 2 Tbs. ground coriander
- 1 Tbs. sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 Tbs. minced garlic
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- Lemon wedges for garnish
In a small fry pan, combine the olive oil, cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne pepper, turmeric, oregano, the 1 tsp. salt and the black pepper. Place over low heat until warmed through and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Place the pork pieces in a bowl and rub with the spice mixture. Add the garlic, parsley and lemon juice and toss well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat, or prepare a hot fire in a grill.
Thread the meat onto skewers and season with salt. Place on the grill pan or a grill rack and grill, turning once, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges.